Invasion of the Kuril Islands

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Invasion of the Kuril Islands
Part of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, World War II
Sea of Okhotsk map.png
Location of the Kuril Islands in the Western Pacific.
Date August 18–September 1, 1945
Location Kuril Islands
Result Soviet victory
Territorial
changes
Kuril Islands annexed to the Soviet Union (later Russia in 1991)
Belligerents
Soviet Union Soviet Union Japan Empire of Japan
Commanders and leaders
Soviet Union A.S. Ksenofontov Empire of Japan Tsutsumi Fusaki
Strength
15,000 troops 80,000 troops
Casualties and losses
1,567 killed or wounded 1,018 killed or wounded
50,422 captured

The Invasion of the Kuril Islands, also called Kuril Islands Landing Operation (Курильская десантная операция in Russian) was the Soviet military operation aimed at capturing the Kuril Islands from the Japanese in 1945 as part of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation when the plans to land on Hokkaido were abandoned.

The operation took place between August 18 and September 1, by the 87th Rifle Corps (Guards General Lieutenant A.S. Ksenofontov) of the 16th Army (Lieutenant-General L. G. Cheremisov) from the 2nd Far Eastern Front, including the elements of Kamchatka defense area (Major General A.R.Gnechko commanding), ships and transportation from the Petropavlovsk military base (Captain D.G.Ponomarev) and with the support from the 128th Airborne Division.

Successful military operations of the Soviet Army in Manchuria and South Sakhalin created the necessary prerequisites for invasion of the Kuril Islands, which had been occupied by the Japanese 91st Infantry Division (islands of Shiashkotan, Paramushir, Shumshu, and Onekotan), 42nd Division (Shimushiro), 41st detached regiment (Matua Island), 129th detached brigade (Urup Island) and 89th Infantry Division (islands of Iturup and Kunashiri). The Japanese commander was Lieutenant General Tsutsumi Fusaki.

Initial reconnaissance was undertaken by two mine trawlers ТЩ-589 and ТЩ-590 carrying a detachment of troops from the 113th separate rifle brigade (Captain-Lieutenant G.I. Brunshtein) on the 28 August, the landing taking place in the Rubetzu bay on the Iturup island. On the same day elements of the 87th Rifle Corps were landed by torpedo boats, mine trawlers and transports (departing from Otomari port) on the Kunashir, Shikotan and five smaller islands Sibotzu, Taraku-Shima, Uri-Shima, Akiuri, and Suiseto. The landings on Iturup were continued by the 355th Rifle Division which also landed on the smaller Urup island.

On August 23, the 20,000-strong Japanese garrisons on the islands surrendered as part of the general surrender of Japan.

Between August 22 and September 1, the Soviets occupied all of the Kuril Islands without further resistance.

The islands were annexed to Russia after the USSR was dissolved. They remain occupied by Russia.

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